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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Critting: working in more voice

Nobody's sent anything to crit (that was a mistake on Sunday's post) so I will take the hot seat. I've been revising my science fiction novel lately, and one of the major goals was to work more voice into the narrative. I've highlighted my additions in red and crossed out the deletions. Feedback is welcome!

This scene takes place several hours before a big "rebel attack" on the enemy. We're in a spaceship with zero gravity at the moment. Caution: a bit of bad language ahead. 

Shen focused on snuffing the cigarette between his fingers as he coasted into the kitchen. Gentle squeeze and the embers died. Good. Fishing out his case, he slid the half-cig in next to his last two. Then he unclipped his empty squeeze bottle and stuffed it in the multiwasher.

A soft parting of lips caught his ear. Hadn’t noticed Neal and Cherette up against the steam cooker. He had her pinned, gently, and her dark hands were in his back pockets. Mouths still hovering close. Then her eyes flicked to Shen for a moment and she whispered something. Neal glanced over his shoulder, tensing up.

“Sorry.” Shen reached for the fridge door and pulled it open, stuck his head in. “Came for a drink.”

“Should take this down the hall anycase,” Cherette said.

Shen glanced up over the fridge door as they went and caught Neal’s eye. Threw him a little salute. Chuck’d been moon-eyed over her for weeks, and she’d been teasing.

In the fridge, there was one Bloody Mary left but Shen was looking for water. Had a nice buzz going and just needed wanted something to clear the tomato juice and nicotine from his mouth before getting a nap in. Needed to get back to Cassie and unclamp from Himalia Star before Neal started assigning strafing vectors. Assuming he didn’t oversleep after Cherette was done with him.

Lucky chuck. Chickie had an ass on her. 

Glenna landed softly against the corner of the fridge and Shen straightened up, cold water bottle in hand. When She didn’t speak or even smile for a long moment, he asked.

“Not keeping that chuck? Meyer, was it?” he asked.

A moment’s frown, and then she shrugged. “Keep him? Who says I didn’t already fuck his brains out?”

"Don't look like you're hunting your next victim." Shen knew what she looked like after a good fucking. “Chuck didn’t put up enough fight, then.” He closed the fridge.

Glenna grimaced, raked one hand into her blonde hair, and pulled off her headband. “Maggie hates me.” Its rhinestones glittered against the dark cloth as she drew her hair back into a fat tail and wrapped the band around it a few times.

She’s said that before.”

She Wouldn’t go with the Singhs.”

“Heard you arguing.”

“Everybody heard that, I'm sure clear enough,” Glenna said, ponytail finished. She lowered her hands and simply hovered in the zero gee.

Was more to it. After a moment, he nudged. “And?”

Her shoulder twitched. “Making me think.” Folded her arms under her breasts.

Shen took a swallow of water. Scratched behind his ear as he waited. No point pushing, he knew. Gotten in enough arguments already.

Without a nudge, Glenna said, “Could call this off,” Glenna said.

Their eyes met. “The attack?”

Her voice lowered. “Call it off, keep going, slingshot around Io and head out to the Trojans. Someplace far away.” Glenna’s gaze wandered away from his. “Be nobody again. Just be.”

She joking? Shen’s brows dragged together. Knotted themselves hard as he waited for her to laugh it off. Had to be kidding. She knew… everything, fuck, he’d told her why he’d thrown in with this. Confessed it. Shen said nothing, watched her.

Glenna glanced back to him, for a moment, then looked away and waited.

Shit, she wasn’t joking. Quietly, “Why.”

“They’ll still be dead, clear?” Her voice trembled. “Ma and pa.”

“Been building up to this for months,” Shen said, voice still low. “Everything we’ve done so far, and what’ve they taken seriously? What’ve we earned? They won’t be able to laugh this off. Or cover it up.”

“Know that, but…”

“But we let them keep taking from us? Your parents, mine, Danae. Four Corners. Your folks. My folks…” His voice turned ragged and stopped him.

Glenna let her breath out in a sigh. “No.”

Shen took a sip of water to clear his throat. “Where’s the line drawn, then?”

She stared into the distance. If she lost her spine, if she called this off… Shen kept his eyes on her. Maybe he could leverage Neal and Josh into doing it anycase. Long shot.

“Booters are fighting back, Glenna. Because of you,” Shen said. Please, don’t run from this.

Her gaze came back to him, with a thin smile. Then she said, “Keep her safe?”

He blinked. Who? “Maggie?”

A nod. “Something goes wrong, you come and get her out? No matter what.”

Easy. Maggie deserved that. Shen nodded. “I will.”

“Swear it.”

His brow crinkled again.

“No matter what, you get Maggie out safe. On your honor.” Her blue eyes were focused, now, stern.

That was serious. But this attack on Kennedy was serious. Shen inclined his head. “On my honor. So long as I get my shots in.”

“You will.” Glenna lightened the moment with a smile. “Seal it with a kiss, too,” she offered.

He leaned in to take that offer, and caught a whiff of cologne on her cheek. Mid-kiss, he paused and sniffed. Male, spicy. “You did fuck his brains out, didn’t you.”

Glenna smiled, wrapping her arms around his neck. “He didn’t put up enough of a fight…” "And now for my next victim..."

1 comment:

mshatch said...

The non-use of pronouns was jarring to me (but that's just me...) and I think the last line would be stronger without words, just : Glenna smiled, wrapping her fingers around his neck - altho I'd change it to: Glenna smiled and wrapped her fingers around his neck. But again, that's me.

I do like how this excerpt has the feel of the future.